Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Unsteady income in young adulthood linked to thinking problems in middle age (aan.com)
205 points by EndXA 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 249 comments

I went through a few years of unstable income in my early twenties (circa 2000), it wasn't altogether bad, just very very sporadic. When I think back on those years I had all kinds of bad behaviours that were not rational. For example, not paying bills because something more urgent might come up. Not looking at balances because it was easier to not know.

I would go from feeling rich one month because a freelance client had paid a bill, to not having a cent a month later.

There were times when it felt like I was running a pyramid scheme on myself. Needing to use money from a previous job to buy computer hardware to sell to the next client.

In retrospect, I was also too proud to ask for help. I let things get way out of control before my mother ended up taking out a personal loan to bail me out at one point. If I had asked for help earlier it would have been a cheaper problem to solve.

It took years to shed some of the residual behaviours, even after I started earning decent money. Despite having savings and reliable income I would still let bills run until they were overdue.

These days I'm a lot more proactive about personal finances and good money management, but it's hard to tell how much of that is just maturity, and how much is the fact that I no longer have problems with unstable income.

>It took years to shed some of the residual behaviours, even after I started earning decent money. Despite having savings and reliable income I would still let bills run until they were overdue.

You wouldn't believe how many "wealthy" people do the exact same thing including not paying their subcontractors etc. My dad used to do electric installations in new built homes. Usually the larger the house and the wealthier the owner more excuses there would be when the time to pay came.Some of those "clients" took 2 years to get money out of them. Doing that to a small contractor you owe is pretty bad behaviour, but at the same time I can understand prioritising your outgoings if you have let's say an annual gas bill review and you know they'll not come after you until you're 3 months late. In such situation paying 89 days late is perfectly reasonable. Nothing bad about it.

I've found the richer people are the less they understand the need for the timely supply of money.

I have extended family that have this problem with their supply of trades. Very keen to get the work done, but paying the bill is somehow not important enough to prioritise.

Worst clients I've ever dealt with were wealthy individuals who didn't delegate or have a board to hold them accountable.

> In such situation paying 89 days late is perfectly reasonable. Nothing bad about it.

huh? What about the contract you agreed to when you took on the service that says you'd pay within 30 days (or whatever). I really don't understand the logic that says as long as you're willing to accept the consequences, it's ok/moral. It's one thing to have extenuating circumstances that force someone to choose between two bad choices, but to say that there's nothing bad about ignoring the due date on your bills just doesn't make sense.

Which direction the playing field is tilted makes a big difference.

> It's one thing to have extenuating circumstances that force someone to choose between two bad choices,

I think that is what was meant by 'prioritizing outgoings'.

I agree with you.

But, the terms of the contract are the terms. Pay late, pay a fee, or not, they’re still abiding by the terms. If we want different behavior, we need to make those desires known.

Not sure what part of my statement you're agreeing with, as the two points seem contradictory :)

The fees and penalties at 60 and 90 days that are common in contract terms like we're talking about are there for when the client doesn't pay by the agreed 30 day term, aren't they? 30 days payment is the behavior that the company wants, pretty clearly. Yes, they're also agreeing to limited penalties if they don't meet the original terms, but those penalties don't apply until they've not meet the terms they agreed to (pay in 30 days). It's not a sliding interest rate scale - it's limited penalties (likely as a result of consumer protection efforts over time). Yes, of course paying by 89 days is handled in the contract. Likely so are additional penalties/repercussions for payment after 90 days too (ie the debt will be sent to a collection agency at 120 days), but that doesn't make paying on those terms 'okay', because they were covered in the contract.

I'm calling out the idea that there's nothing bad (immoral/unjust) going on if someone doesn't pay within the ordinary term expected unless it's been explicitly agreed to otherwise (not as a penalty, but as an acceptable payment schedule), aside from other moral arguments about extenuating circumstances, etc that might mitigate the responsibility for payment.

> I'm calling out the idea that there's nothing bad (immoral/unjust) going on if someone doesn't pay within the ordinary term expected unless it's been explicitly agreed to

When I first founded my startup, I was vigilant about paying all of my contractors and vendors perfectly on time or early. As a business owner, I wanted to provide a great product and didn't want to chase people for money, and tried treating companies and people I worked with similarly.

What nice thought, and so utterly silly.

My company was largely geared towards large enterprises. When I started, I naively assumed that our relatively small fees, with easily cancelable month-to-month terms, would be so easy to stomach that these large enterprises would pay without issue if they found value, and would simply cancel if they did not.

But I found that the bigger the company, the more difficult it is to get them to pay anything. Big companies are more likely to wait until the day to pay, pay late and ask forgiveness, pay late and then ask for a discount to continue the service, or drag on a free trial as long as they can. These companies negotiate harder, spend more time going over insignificant line items, and generally create far more friction than much smaller companies.

I've had a relatively small $10k/year deals with big companies, where multiple attorneys negotiated agreements and haggled over price, their fees earning them multiples of the total contract value. Pushing folks to the limit, using disproportionate force, begging for leniency, and just generally playing dirty is the norm for large companies. Assuming morality plays any part in it is laughable.

Right, but all of that behavior by those people is immoral/wrong/bad. I said nothing about whether moral behavior should be expected at all times (or any time) from large companies or frankly most of the people we do business with.

I'm trying to point out that people who think there's nothing bad about it (as the original post I replied to stated) are completely missing something about the basic definitions of bad behavior. It's like some shared delusion or psychopathy that people seem to believe, because it's in their self-interest to believe it.

> It's like some shared delusion or psychopathy that people seem to believe, because it's in their self-interest to believe it.

A business is not an individual, it's a collection of individuals each doing a specialized task that collectively make up a large system. Applying moral principles that are generally applied to individuals to organizations just doesn't work. There needs to be a different set or prioritization of moral principles to be effective in a large organization or system.

In my example (highly paid attorneys spending inordinate amounts of time negotiating a tiny contract), the attorneys themselves were not bad, they were instructed to zealously negotiate every contract. The finance folks that paid late are not bad, they were charged with keeping high cash reserves and to tolerate a certain level of legal risk.

As a straightforward example for reducing out-right fraud: Most individuals already know that fraud, lying and cheating is bad. If an individual scams someone, they are bad. In contrast, for a business to be "moral", it must routinely audit their work processes to make sure that fraud cannot accidentally occur, and also provide safeguards when "bad" individuals do it intentionally. If there are no safeguards (regardless of whether fraud occurs or not), the company is "bad". Conversely, if stringent and proper safeguards are in place, and yet someone within the organization is nevertheless able to devilishly get around them and commit fraud, then it's possible that the business is still moral.

The point here is that individual morality is not the same as organizational or systems morality. Lots of moral people can come together and become an immoral organization. Similarly, a moral organization can withstand lots of bad people within their ranks.

That's an interesting look at it. I guess I still feel that the finance guys that are paying late are still doing something objectively bad, even if they've been instructed to do so. 'just doing my job' doesn't seem like a valid excuse from moral obligations (even if they weren't the ones who signed the contract). But I agree with the basic premise that you're making about the distinction between individual and organizational morality.

I personally prefer to think of organizations as being groups of people, each of which have moral obligations, and leaders have moral obligations to ensure that their organization as a whole (sum-of-parts) maintains moral behavior. So not so much the idea that the organization has some moral mandate, but the individual leaders. That view might fall apart in really large organizations; so I'm not sure.

Another twist is that large organizations (as clients in some theoretical exchange) might say : our payment terms will be 120 days, take it or leave it. That's bad on a different level (taking advantage of power imbalance), but if the vendor accepts the contract at that point I don't think one could point the finger at the payment behavior as being immoral in and of itself (assuming they keep to their stated terms). Some (many??) people would not put nearly as much moral weight on the act of using their power imbalance ("isn't that what competition is all about?") compared to the act of breaking their agreement, just because they can get away with it (another form of taking advantage of the power imbalance, but seemingly more sinister).

All that said, I'm just a dude in an armchair at his keyboard that finds this topic interesting, and willing to think about it a bit. I've never studied the philosophy of morality - although I guess I have a fairly strong internal sense of it for myself :)

The key question is whether fees are levied. If you can drag your feet for 89 days and pay not one extra cent, then why wouldn't you?

Because you agreed to pay it at a date before that? Because you don't want to be the person that's known for making things harder on others than they should be? Because not everything is about eeking every single penny you can from every single transaction?

That isn't how violators think about it though.

They either can't afford it right away so they stall, or they CAN afford it, it's just that everything else in their life takes priority over sitting down to pay the bill. Pure negligence.

Any experienced contractor should have a clause that charges interest after some point. You can be "nice" about it by reducing the interest rate or extending the deadline on the next job after the client has made clear they can pay on time.

Because the few dollars of interest you could make are not at all worth the hardship you place on someone who needs the principal.

You assume that wealthy people aren't sociopaths when it comes to the well-being of the people who work for them.

They are or they aren't, they don't become sociopaths in certain situations. My take is people accustomed to wealth from birth just don't understand how hard it can be.

I used to work with a guy who was very well off. I was not. I suggested something for a fee, he immediately tried to bargain with me. It was little money and I needed it; it was nothing to him. To him it was a game. He was no sociopath, he just didn't understand hardship. I saw him do that quite a bit. I'm sure if he ever felt a hard pinch himself he'd realise it wasn't a game, be much more sympathetic, but... that wasn't going to happen. Genuinely nice guy too.

Yeah, or if the extra fee is trivial, for that matter

Wealthy people who want to remain wealthy don't spend their money on massive houses though.

They may have high incomes, but if their outgoings are higher, they're still going to have problems.

Eh, not really. If someone has $20m they can easily afford a $5m house, which may not be “massive” in the Bay Area but is basically anywhere else.

It’s not even about income so much as not caring. Put yourself in the position of a very wealthy person, unless you are wealthy enough to have personal staff, what do you care about a $10k bill? It’s not a big deal to you and barely worth thinking about, you could easily just forget about paying it and think if it’s really important to pay in a timely manner someone will hound you and you’ll pay it then. You open the mail, see some bill notice, throw it on the kitchen table and hit the golf course.

How do they get the $20m to start with?

If they're earning $1m/pa but spending $1.1m they may look outwardly wealthy, but aren't really. Contrast that with the person who also earns $1m/pa but only spends $500k. They're the wealthy ones, and also probably the ones with the smaller house, cheaper car, and $20m in the bank.

If you 'just forget' about bills, that suggests to me a personality that is worse with money rather than better, ie the type of person likely to spend on material goods rather than spending wealth.

Book recommendation: The Millionaire Next Door.

And as a young person in your early 20's this is all bad enough, but I am going to read into it a little more and infer you were single. Now imagine if you had children to feed, the additional stress and additional expense probably would have broke you (financially, which happened anyway, and mentally). Not to mention knowing the effect of all this stress on your children and their developing minds.

This study is an odd way of looking at what is already established and known...instability has a detrimental cognitive and psychological effect on people, in particular children, but its not limited to children and extends to people with fully developed brains.

>Not to mention knowing the effect of all this stress on your children and their developing minds.

I believe Gabor Mate talks in depth on this particular topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9B5mYfBPlY is one interview, which references https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/2/e460?ss...

Yeah I used to do legal work in dependency court (abuse, abandonment and neglect of children), and so I have read countless psychological report...traumas are bad enough (so bad I had to leave that area of the law behind) but instability essentially guarantees the persons mind will never recover. Its like the Mohammad Ali quote, its not the mountain ahead that wears you out, its the pebble in your shoe.

I sill get anxiety at looking at my bank account, even though it hasn't been at 2 figures for years - I'm still fighting that dread of having to go "how am I going to pay for rent" even though I now own a home.

Well, it would be understandable if you now have a mortgage.

> it wasn't altogether bad, just very very sporadic. When I think back on those years I had all kinds of bad behaviours that were not rational. For example, not paying bills because something more urgent might come up. Not looking at balances because it was easier to not know.

I never had unstable income (maybe wishing I had more), but I definitely had some degree of these specific bad behaviors.

I feel (financial) maturity is a big part of this; As a parent now, I'm being intentional on how my kids earn allowance and think about spending.

For example, not paying bills because something more urgent might come up

Nothing wrong with this behavior as long as you pay on the due date. Schedule automatic payments on the due date & you'll hang on to the cash as long as possible, and you also won't forget to make payments & incur fees.

Oh how I can relate. It's been about a year now since I closed my failed startup, and still no webdev job after many interviews. After a year of countless applications, interviews and networking with no result (insanely repetitive and people can sense the desperation) things start to spiral. I get this sense from friends and family that they begin to think something's wrong with me and distance themselves - not to mention being unable to afford to do much.

There is something about spending too much time on the same problem that may drive a person insane. I think it might create deep valleys over certain neural pathways that are shared with other important functions. For example after a year of grinding on the same problem of "get job" my mind has become hyper sensitive to patterns and hidden meanings like never before. I'll see a leaf blowing in the wind and my mind will sometimes slip into interpreting it as some symbolic message from the universe to help me find a job. In a way I can sort of understand these homeless guys that walk the streets talking to themselves - they might just be further along, so deep in this pattern recognition psychosis from trying to survive that their brains are telling them the whole world is talking to them directly.

> I can sort of understand these homeless guys that walk the streets talking to themselves

Good for you man. I honestly believe that every person should lose their mind at least once. Once you've built up some insane reality, it'll always be there, and the space between is (IMO) kind of special. It's amazing how one can hold two completely contradictory storylines of the world in their head. And for me it helps with groking how different the inside of other peoples minds can be. How real it can feel. How fake my real is. How just as plausible their real could be.

For those interested, one of the easiest cheapest ways to lose your mind is to go live out in the woods for a while (bush fever). Seriously, if you've never had your bubble burst, it might do you some good.

You are describing what is known as the "dark night of the soul.". (though traditionally this is a spiritual sense I think the deepness of what you're describing could be spiritual as well.)

Hey, would love to connect. I’ve been looking for a few who’ve been there and have appropriate skills. Can be remote/nomadic. Not sure how HN works on the backend - are you able to send me an email or PM?

Yes, thank you. You can reach me at the email in my user profile. I'd love to hear from you.

Done :)

A very important skill I learned is to catch myself spending too much time solving the same problem head on, fire an interrupt, step back and rethink. In most of the cases, approaching the problem from a different angle, reformulating it, or just saying "Fuck it. Plan B now." is much more viable than ramming yourself into the same closed door over and over again.

sounds like you've never had to deal with unemployment/being out of the job market

The article acknowledges that the study does not show causation and it seems a little strange to think a causal arrow in this direction is more plausible than the other direction. It seems like people who do better at thinking and memory tasks should also do better at their jobs and interviews and therefore be less likely to experience an income drop. To speculate on income drop's effect on mental acumen one would want to measure intelligence at the beginning of a career and in middle age and then correlate the delta to number and size of income drops.

The best thing to do when you see a study that counters your opinion on the causality of something, just swap the causality, and move on. Many association papers are just written to confirm the investigator's prior beliefs.

"The best thing to do when you see science you don't like, is pretend it reinforces your already existing biases"


This totally makes sense. If the paper shows that A correlates with B, and interprets this as A causes B, but doesn't show it; and if you think B causes A; then this is a great explanation for their result.

There is a big big big gap between an individual newsworthy article, and science tested by multiple replications.

Only 62% of articles published in Nature and Science actually replicated: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06075-z About a coin flip if you can believe a given headline at all.

A single article is a data point, not ironclad unimpeachable argument-ending fact.

I would argue that the DNA paper by W&C was an ironclad unimpeachable argument-ending fact. The nice thing is that you could take their structure, run it forward through the scattering algorithm, and see that the simulated data looked identical to the measured data. Further, the simple prediction the paper made (that duplex DNA could form a template for DNA replication) turned out to be so audaciously true...

(I could quibble and say the W&C structure is technically wrong, because it was done in non-physiological conditions, and subsequent studies did find very minor structural details for B-DNA when done correctly...)

Did I say that no authoritative papers have ever been published?

The cognitive impact of wealth has been pretty well studied, and there is already a very good population being studied for this - farmers in some places are pretty well off immediately after harvest/sale, and just before the next harvest, are usually back to a baseline state, or even struggling to pay bills again. Not only do they exhibit better long-term thinking when they are flush with cash, they tend be overall more cognitively capable.

But farmers also have a self-selection bias in them. The average person is not a farmer.

Exactly. There are a lot of articles getting posted to HN that raise this same question. Beyond the 'how did this get posted here!' I'm starting to wonder how all of this gets funded and then published. I was the stupidest person in my department of 'hard' science, the self-righteous anger that these incite in me makes me feel better about that.

Agreed. It seems far more likely the population with income swings suffered from latent, "sub-clinical" cognitive issues that merely became more pronounced later in life.

> should also do better at their jobs and interview

Would this apply to group layoffs from blue colar industries, or general downturn in specific industries ? (for instance drivers as Uber/Lyft entered the market, and now that revenues are also lowering)

It seems to me there could be an awful lot of cases where income drop has little to do with a worker's brain health or memory capacities. We are contemplating automating whole industries, subsequent layoffs will also be par for the course, whatever performance the worker was showing.

Here's the thing about statistics: the effect doesn't need to be seen across everyone. If 50% of people with low cognitive skills experience high income volatility, but only 20% of people with high cognitive skill do, then you'd get results consistent with this "study"

All this tells me is the real percentage of people on this Math and Science Forum who don't read the article before making some politicized comment. It shocks me.

Actually, we could remedy most of these comments by thinking about the title for a couple seconds.

> people on this Math and Science Forum

This is not a “Math and Science Forum”.

The worst thing about this Politics and Rachel by the Bay Forum is how people don't even read the site description.

Can I engage in friendship with your heart?

Poverty harms children. It's possible it harms young adults as well. The sooner we dismiss the notion that we need the poverty to motivate us to work and adopt some form of basic income, the better.

It might be cheaper too than current system when you consider all the harm that poverty does to economy and workers.

Malnourishment harms anyone, and severe malnourishment at childhood harms a lot https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/child-nutrition... but mostly in poor countries.

A nice variant of basic income is minimal tax return when everyone gets tax return proportional to a small percentage of the total tax collected past year. This would allow to gradually reduce other forms of social payments, without introducing arbitrary fixed values for the amount of basic income.

Is malnourishment a problem among the poor in the US? Looking around, it seems the problem of the poor in the US is obesity.

I dropped multiple dress sizes by improving my nutrition. I also got my younger son to drop weight without dieting by buying him dark chocolate as a means to discourage him from eating chocolate pop tarts. I learned he was eating chocolate pop tarts all day, concluded he was specifically craving cocoa and found him a better source of cocoa so he could get enough cocoa with fewer calories.

I suspect obesity is frequently due to getting too little nutrition while getting enough/too much in the way of calories. You keep eating precisely because you are malnourished and it fosters cravings.

I think you've hit the nail on the head here. I live in a country where people don't get enough protein due to religious and cultural dietary restrictions. Once I got my own apartment I upped my protein intake and significantly limited my carbs, and found that the constant cravings I'd had pretty much my entire life decreased substantially, after a short but painful transition period.

If all you get to eat is cheap processed junk food you can be both obese and malnourished

I'd argue yes, malnourishment is a problem in the US primarily due to sugar subsidies. Remember that malnourishment != starvation.

It can be eating heavily processed foods with extra sugar (in 1 of the 56 different approved names for sugar by the FDA). Or it can be from soda in myriad forms. Or packed and hidden in the aisles of a grocery store of, again, high prpocessed and low nutrient foods.

Or they're in a food desert in the extreme rural areas or the big cities.

And I'd definitely classify obesity as a type of malnourishment. Mal- just means bad.

About 1/10 households were food insecure in the US last year according to the government itself: https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/fo...

Lots of kids from poor families start the school day hungry


What is defined as poverty?

If you have internet and food, are you still in poverty?

I'd say if you have food, internet and roof over your head and can get treatment when you get sick you are not in poverty. There are some official definitions though.

I think one other factor to consider is your future. You might have food, internet, healthcare, and a roof over your head right now, but if your current situation will lead to a lack of one of these in the future, then you could probably already be considered poor. Eg, if you lose your job and can't get another one, then you still have some savings to have food, internet, healthcare, and housing, but you will lose it in the future.

Considering the state of healthcare and savings in the US this puts a majority of the population in poverty because they cannot afford a $500 medical expense.

Which is true, and I would agree on most people being impoverished even if you think they are buried in gadgets and high fructose corn syrup. Most people I know, meet, and would see on the street I would almost always bet are to varying degrees psychologically harmed by their poverties, whatever form they take.

I would also access to further learning, be it trade school college, a library etc

I think that's what the internet is about.

Giving money to poor you only create more of those. People should be given a chance, not money.

Giving money to poor is giving them a chance. A lot of problems with being able to find and keep a job ultimately stems from lack of money for things like housing, clothing, transportation, healthcare and decent meals.

Exactly. I have been without before, and it consumes too much of your higher brain function. Lots of problems evaporate even with a small amount of cash or cash flow. Conversely it is hard to then use money as an efficient lever after running on fumes for years. This is often why you see changes in leadership as an org grows, the person who bootstraps a company has a much different skillset then the person who grows it into a large powerful org. The latter should know where to spend much larger sums of money to achieve goals rather than penny pinching and sinking more precious resources like time or focus.

the thing that gave me the most chance out of anything in the absolute turning point of my life was free money. After which it was access to free schooling (which is a type of money), landing the first job a year later that I used to build my two decades career was on me though.

on edit: no wait, actually landing the first job required me getting advised to go to a particular place from a person that was a contact of someone from my last free schooling place. That guy later turned out to be a three counties class asshole but I guess I have to thank him for this.

Exactly, but if basic income becomes reality, it won't happen because people will want to help the poor, but because the amount of work required to produce food will become so small that people by their mere existence will generate more value, similar to the way people can get email accounts with gigabytes of storage for free.

I think that when most people think of basic income, they don't think of the type of society you mentioned. That's something we hopefully will get to in the future, but we're still quite far from it. If we get basic income, then it's probably going to be much sooner than that, which is going to have widespread implications on society. Many of which we don't know.

I even think that most people would have no problem with a basic income type system when most basic goods are incredibly cheap to produce. After all, if it costs a penny out of your paycheck, then would you really mind if that covered the basic needs of everyone? The main issue I could see related to that would be if this somehow encourages population growth.

Population growth is a good thing, it will force us to build cities on mars, irrigate sahara, build floating cities on the ocean. And will help to make "produce once, use infinitely" things: art, software, science cheaper. It wouldn't be a side effect of basic income but the main purpose.

Poor people need both money and opportunity. If you can't feed yourself, you can't pursue opportunities.


There would not be poor if it was not for the rich.

marx's capital lays this out.

This is otherwise known as the fixed pie myth. No, wealth is not a zero-sum game.

Of course it is not, sorry if it seemed I implied that. productivity is always increasing, but do wages?


Living in survival mode has a severely negative impact on growth and on the brain/thinking. This is why poor people often stay poor and make bad decisions. The brilliant stem cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton describes in chapter 6 of his book “The Biology of Belief” why an organism cannot simultaneously be in a state of growth and protection:

"By now you won’t be surprised to learn that I first became aware of how important growth and protection behaviors are in the laboratory where my observations of single cells have so often led me to insights about the multicellular human body. When I was cloning human endothelial cells, they retreated from toxins that I introduced into the culture dish, just as humans retreat from mountain lions and muggers in dark alleys. They also gravitated to nutrients, just as humans gravitate to breakfast, lunch, dinner and love. These opposing movements define the two basic cellular responses to environmental stimuli. Gravitating to a life-sustaining signal, such as nutrients, characterizes a growth response; moving away from threatening signals, such as toxins, characterizes a protection response. It must also be noted that some environmental stimuli are neutral; they provoke neither a growth nor a protection response. My research at Stanford showed that these growth/protection behaviors are also essential for the survival of multicellular organisms such as humans. But there is a catch to these opposing survival mechanisms that have evolved over billions of years. It turns out that the mechanisms that support growth and protection cannot operate optimally at the same time. In other words, cells cannot simultaneously move forward and backward. The human blood vessel cells I studied at Stanford exhibited one microscopic anatomy for providing nutrition and a completely different microscopic anatomy for providing a protection response. What they couldn’t do was exhibit both configurations at the same time. [Lipton, et al, 1991) In a response similar to that displayed by cells, humans unavoidably restrict their growth behaviors when they shift into a protective mode. If you’re running from a mountain lion, it’s not a good idea to expend energy on growth. In order to survive — that is, escape the lion — you summon all your energy for your fight or flight response. Redistributing energy reserves to fuel the protection response inevitably results in a curtailment of growth."

In other words, living in a constant state of survival (as unsteady income might cause), severely restricts a person’s capabilities to grow in a healthy way.

For those looking for a summary of the original study (https://n.neurology.org/content/early/2019/10/02/WNL.0000000...), here's the info from the abstract:

> Objective: Income volatility presents a growing public health threat. To our knowledge, no previous study examined the relationship among income volatility, cognitive function, and brain integrity.

> Methods: We studied 3,287 participants aged 23–35 years in 1990 from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults prospective cohort study. Income volatility data were created using income data collected from 1990 to 2010 and defined as SD of percent change in income and number of income drops ≥25% (categorized as 0, 1, or 2+). In 2010, cognitive tests (n = 3,287) and brain scans (n = 716) were obtained.

> Results: After covariate adjustment, higher income volatility was associated with worse performance on processing speed (β = −1.09, 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.73 to −0.44) and executive functioning (β = 2.53, 95% CI 0.60–4.50) but not on verbal memory (β = −0.02, 95% CI −0.16 to 0.11). Similarly, additional income drops were associated with worse performance on processing speed and executive functioning. Higher income volatility and more income drops were also associated with worse microstructural integrity of total brain and total white matter. All findings were similar when restricted to those with high education, suggesting reverse causation may not explain these findings.

> Conclusion: Income volatility over a 20-year period of formative earning years was associated with worse cognitive function and brain integrity in midlife.

Is sticking a shotgun in your mouth because one doctor visit consumed all your life's savings a "thinking problem"? Because I'm seeing a lot of that I don't think it's just a problem some pill will fix.

I'm not sure how to parse this. But I do want to say that you can overcome losing your life savings or losing a loved one or other significant losses. It's emotionally hard. But it can even be a moment of personal growth. Stoic philosophy is a good resource for western audiences looking to handle problems coping with loss.

I don't think stoic philosophy is going to do much for financial problems that break your hierarchy of needs.

A starving man can still be happy.

Edit: I'm not saying coping with loss is easy, especially if that is a loss of your ability to support yourself. The context of this conversation is someone killing themselves, and I think it'd be great if we came together and tried to convince people to live.

Well it could be a lot of different things. No money for good food, sports and a lot of stress that accompanies having no steady source of income etc..

Sure, eating flour mixed with water is cheaper than vegetables. But I don't think people do that.

Instead people wrongly think fast food is cheaper than home cooked food.

Not sure your point of "no money for good food"

Source- calories and protein and vitamins per dollar

Edit- fast food is not necessarily faster. Carrots and protein shakes are faster than waiting in line for example.

>Instead people wrongly think fast food is cheaper than home cooked food.

Fast food is cheaper than home cooked food when you factor in time & mental effort. Cooking at home requires skills that many people do not have.

This this this. It's all well and good cooking and prepping etc when you're in a comfortable house and have stocked kitchen space to yourself at home, but when you realise that a lot of people eating out every day don't have access to space in a kitchen that isn't busy with the four other people they live with, that don't get home until 7pm at night and have to leave at 7am in the morning to get to work etc, and you realise that unless cooking is your hobby in those situations you wouldn't have time to decompress after work and make a nutritious meal and also prep lunch for the following day etc.

Yes weekend meal prep is a thing too - but freezer space is at a premium in shared households and there's always the threat of a roommate or family member taking the food for themselves.

seems like people need to enter a 'team' mindset, where you share cooking duties with roommates etc.. trying to help each other pull themselves out of poverty. ofc this is 0.1% likely to happen, but when it does, i think it would work.

ofc this is 0.1% likely to happen

I think you severely underestimate the power of teamwork.

That's how our family has survived through 90s. This grandma will watch after everyone's kids. That only guy who has a car will buy cheap potatoes in bulk for everyone.

When you're in constant survival mode, it's hard to think like that. How can you spare the time helping someone else when you're already drowning?

The difficult thing is that we've gone a long way towards eliminating the tight-knit communities from our society. It's a lot easier to coordinate resource and effort sharing with people you've known your entire life (family, family-ish, and church cohorts).

Even just the church tradition of organizing bringing food to somebody in the community who is sick, indisposed or undergoing a stressful time in their lives (think: just had a kid) is falling by the wayside.

You're making the assumption that poor people expect upper middle class standards of inconvenience (well, lack thereof) in their daily lives. This is not the case because if you don't know what you're missing it's hard to miss it. If the kitchen is busy you wait or work around people. "Time to decompress" isn't even on most people's radar as a thing they want to do. When you have to eat dinner make lunch and go to sleep to get to work the next day that takes priority. It's not "woe is me I can't sit on my butt for half an hour and watch Jeopardy tonight," it's just life.

Sorry, this is beyond my understanding.

Morning porridge: pour water into oats. Microwave for 2 minutes.

Dinner: pour water into rice. Boil for 10 minutes. Add a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

My 7yo does it. Do you seriously think there's a non-disabled adult incapable of pouring water in a bowl?

Buying ready to eat chicken every day and buying fast food is different how?

People who are homeless or inadequately housed can have no access to the ability to do this. They may not have a microwave or means to boil water.

>Do you seriously think there's a non-disabled adult incapable of pouring water in a bowl?

I seriously think there are non-disabled adults that would never think to pour water into a bowl for oatmeal. That's the crux of my argument. The meta cognitive step to "change the status quo" appears to be beyond the capability of most people.

Great now you're able to eat one crappy meal forever. Maybe people want variety and taste and don't have time to invest in that?? Maybe people live in an area not near a good grocery store, which is VERY common in lower income areas... think harder if you can't envision this being more complicated than it seems

Of course rotisserie chicken is just another form of fast food. You're proving the point!

It's as "fast" as bread and instant coffee.

At least it's cheap, reasonably healthy and tasty.

It's not, actually, since it involves buying a microwave and waiting for things for cook... But more specifically, the above specifies cooking without relying on pre-made food like rotisserie, and you're proving the point that the cheap and healthy and tasty and easy choice is using pre-made food.

But a rotisserie chicken essentially costs as much as fast food would.

I'm usually sympathetic to this but dumping ramen into a coffee pot doesn't require skills. Frying an egg does but not much, and you could just microwave them instead. etc.

>Sure, eating flour mixed with water is cheaper than vegetables. But I don't think people do that.

You'd be surprised. Ever heard e.g. of "syrup sandwiches"?

Or dozens of other ways poor people get by with no money for food?

It's not just "fast food". And even that, it's not because they "wrongly think fast food is cheaper than home cooked food" -- it's because fast food is less stressful to make when you have to work like crazy, in excruciating jobs to make ends meets, and requires less time...

I remember my stepmother recalling her late teenage years / early adulthood poverty. She said she used to get a bunch of ketchup packets from a McDonalds to use a a very bad "tomato soup" base

I'm pretty sure that if someone thinks fast food is "cheaper" they are working off the "time is money" assumption.

Protein per dollar is actually quite expensive compared to carbs and fat. On the other hand, protein in fast food is even more expensive.

Why do I feel this will be used to discriminate people with poor backgrounds?

Alternative (and to my mind more likely) hypothesis: poor brain health causes bad decision making and unstable income.

I was thinking the same, as an extra ingredient in the recipe. Nutrition and good health habits (avoid smoking, avoid excessive drinking of alcohol or sodas, sleep the necessary for your well-being, practice some sport, etc) are essentials you can't ignore.

Getting low grades on exams is also linked to thinking problems in later years, we should automatically assign the same grade to all children to help them to become smarter </s>

are you suggesting poor people are inherently less intelligent?

It's interesting how "poor people are often stupid" triggers an outrage, but "stupid people are often poor" is seen as a logical statement.

People don't want to face cold hard truths. IQ is not perfect by any means, but one of the best predictors of overall success in life. Yet when it's overlapped with socioeconomic standing, it suddenly becomes a racist measurement.

What causes low IQ though? Just going to take a guess here and say that < 5% of people actually have "genetic stupidity". Most "low IQ" people are low IQ because they went through traumatizing hardships early in life.

>People don't want to face cold hard truths.

Yeah, no shit. People are too busy trying to survive instead of trying to figure out life's "truths".

>What causes low IQ though? Just going to take a guess here and say that < 5% of people actually have "genetic stupidity". Most "low IQ" people are low IQ because they went through traumatizing hardships early in life.

I think your statement is unlikely to be true. It will, of course, depend on your specific definitions, but from twin studies we've found that intelligence seems to be heritable.[0] It's even a fairly strong effect:

>The heritability of intelligence increases from about 20% in infancy to perhaps 80% in later adulthood.[0]

Other studies have found a similar effect.[1][2] Due to us observing this kind of a heritability effect (one that grows stronger as we age), I think it's unlikely that random events, such as trauma and hardships, are the main cause for lower levels of cognitive development. They certainly play a role in it, because they absolutely do affect cognitive development negatively, but I wouldn't bet money on this being the main reason.

Note that even though [2] favors the maternal womb environment over genetics as a factor in intelligence, it's still a factor that the individual in question had no control over.

[0] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270739/

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24791031

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9242404

>Yeah, no shit. People are too busy trying to survive instead of trying to figure out life's "truths".

I think in this case the parent was referring to people who discuss and solve these kinds of problems, rather than the people actually going through them.

>one of the best predictors of overall success in life

...define success? It sounds like you're implying wealth is a meritocracy.

Are you suggesting people who do not pass exams are inherently less intelligent?

I think in both cases the answer is partly, because in both cases some kind of misfortune prevents them from achieving the desired result, and brain not functioning well is one such misfortune. There are many other ways to become poor, so being poor won't tell you much about intelligence, but most of less intelligent people will be poor.

not necesarily, but the two things can be correlated.

Note that peer groups have a lot to do with thinking problems in general. If you are poor or broke and hang out with poor or broke people, your thinking will be different.

Also, people tend to hang out with other people making roughly the same as them, which compounds the problem.

This study followed 23 to 35 year olds. This is post college for most people. Probably a good reason to not go to grad school (income drop) unless you have a financial buffer!

Am I missing something? This study just seems to say that smarter people have more income stability. Doesn't seem all that surprising.

The study doesn't make any mention of doing tests throughout their lifespans so it's hard to claim that income stability impairs brain function.

At best there is a correlation and it makes more sense to me that impaired brain function leads to income instability, not the other way around.

This is not a comment to undermine the effect of the hardship of having a precarious situation, but it must be said that scientifically, it is impossible to conclude a causality vs a correlation.

I am not saying that this is true, but it is possible that people with unsteady incomes are more risk-taking, which in itself is a psychological traits which may be linked to poorer performance in iq-like test in middle age.

Researchers found when compared to people with no income drops, people with two or more income drops had smaller total brain volume. People with one or more income drops also had reduced connectivity in the brain, meaning there were fewer connections between different areas of the brain.

I'm sure there is a correlation, but I can't see how income could possibly be linked causally to brain function directly.

Eaten nothing but packets of ramen for months on end probably takes more of a toll on the brain than a light wallet.

Wouldn't a light wallet be the cause of a ramen diet?

Also, the stress of poverty is known to cause cognitive issues IIRC

Isn't that a causal chain...?

This is as good a time to vent as any other.

One of the things I find difficult is sharing. Even to close friends, but I don't feel the need to. Maybe I just have been hanging out with the wrong people lately, which I have stopped seeing recently - and to which I have been feeling better since. I'll have to give some thought into the the word "difficult" I decided to use - but I'll leave that for some other time.

I have been teaching myself programming on and off for a few years now. After having had some health issues last year, I ended up five days in a public hospital and stopped programming until earlier this year when I took it up again. The experience in that hospital was bizarrely amusing, but I won't digress. I'm guessing the onset was due to some combination of stress and/or burnout. After the hospital it took months to recuperate.

In that time I didn't have much energy would do some light reading and came across an article, right here on HN about sourdough.

All in all, having a hobby helps. And I'm quite fortunate to have a family that provides food and a roof. But it is taxing on so many levels not to be able to help out, to provide. And with the upcoming holidays it gets hard. It hits me hard.

F*. When I started writing this I did not expect it to take that turn. Let's get back on track.

Right. I picked up programming again earlier this year. Funnily, things started to click. I don't know why, maybe the break helped. Anyhow, looking for jobs is another thing that takes a toll on you. I've never worked in the industry, nor have I had a job for too long. I try to search for jr. jobs and when I do find one, the rejection after rejection does not make it easy.

And despite the sorrow sounding note of this, this is just me venting to strangers on the net. And by the age of the thread, few people will read, if any at all.

I stopped talking to the few acquaintances. People who weren't contributing anything positive in my life. And I have to say, I have been more productive since.

I'm currently learning django. Reading Eloquent Javascript and practicing my vim skills - which I took up recently out of necessity. Funnily I found myself trying to use vim keybindings last time I opened up Visual Studio Code.

And that's not to mention all the other tabs that are open. A back-burner of things I want to learn.

Things may get tough, as they always will. But it's all about knowing when to slow down. Take a deep breath, and every now and then, vent.

Why the world should adopt a basic income http://archive.li/5QVPj

Poverty reduces IQ by 13 points https://archive.is/bmj11

Cue the "I was from a poor family and I got into Stanford, everybody should be able to it" from people who don't understand how life, statistics, outliers, and relative effort required (for a middle/class rich kid playing in "easy mode" to succeed, versus a poor kid playing the "extra hard mode").

People who confuse what's possible but 10x more difficult for some income groups/backgrounds, to be the same as being equally possible and as easy. Or that think that just because some outliers managed to win the hard mode, everybody should be able to (and are just lazy if they don't) - while ignoring lucky breaks and mitigating circumstances in their case, e.g. you might be poor, but not have a parent sick to take care of. Or you might be an immigrant, but have parents working their ass off to get you to college. Or you might have a stable family as opposed to abuse. Or your teachers might not care at all to encourage you.

This is not about telling people not to try. This is about recognizing that even trying is not "equally easy", and that outlier success stories doesn't mean the game is not rigged against those from poor backgrounds. And perhaps finding ways to fix this issues (e.g. reducing poverty, abuse, stress factors for poor people, better educational districts, and so on).


As one of those people (I didn't go to Stanford, but I did move a few rungs up the socioeconomic ladder), I take issue with your point. It's not helpful.

There is definitely a culture of anti-intellectualism and escapism among the poor in the US (my background). Sure, the rich kids have it easy and it's super easy to sit around feeling bad about that but in many, many cases people could better themselves with a modicum of effort.

I grew up asking everyone (friends, family, neighbors): Why won't you read book? Why do you "hate" math? Why are computers "for nerds"? Why do you spend all of your time watching football?

I'm now much more successful than the people who ignored or derided me during that time period.

Was it easy for me to get ahead? No. But it is possible; oh and I wasn't one of those people with parents who worked hard, a good family life or supportive community around me. I was on my own.

If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's not your place to tell other people how to live. If they want to spend their days watching football, instead of learning math or computers: it is their decision to make. A lot of those people won't care that you are more successful than them. They're content with just watching football: it's what they're choosing to do, after all.

That's true, but it doesn't make sense for people like the parent I responded to to act as if people's own choices have no role in their condition.

If you want to spend all day, every day watching sports then it shouldn't be an issue if you don't get a head in life. It's a personal choice, but you can't have it both ways.

Both of you have valid points.

I too am one of those people who overcame a lot early in life.

Our choices matter. Of course they do.

What is often not discussed is a reasonable, modest life. For many people, that is all they want, and our current society is growing toxic to it. The "game" of life does not need to be as hard as it currently is. Nor does it need to select for extremes.

No matter how great our ability to choose is, the fact is only a fraction of us will do well, and the rest are going to really struggle and that is unnecessary.

The other fact is luck plays a huge role.

> only a fraction of us will do well, and the rest are going to really struggle and that is unnecessary.

I'm not entirely sure it's unnecessary. Not everyone can live an upper middle class lifestyle.

My main message is that there's culture changes that can and must be enacted within those communities or individuals that will provide opportunity.

Yes, and the system we live under selects away from that.

A majority are struggling today.


I think you'll find it's not just "today". The majority have always struggled.

Regardless, the current and growing level of struggle is unnecessary.

Examples elsewhere in the world are not hard to find.

I'm not sure I agree with you. By pretty much every measure, humans are living better lives than in all of the history of humanity.


In basic terms, wealth is about time. Poor people, regardless of the relative wealth or advancement in the society they live in, have most of their time purposed for them.

Wealthy people purpose most of their time.

The majority struggling are poor in this sense.

That is unnecessary.

As a species, yes! We are doing well.

No argument.

Here, right now, in the US, a majority suffer. Their income is not up to their cost and risk exposure, particularly with health care.

They labor too much.

I could go on.

Massive gains have not played out as solid gains in life quality and wealth basics most would agree were set decades ago.

I strongly disagree. Basic, systemic change is needed.

Blaming people holds no answers.

That's fine, it's their life. But they have to live with the consequences of their choices which may include poverty.

I disagree. Yes, you should not tell other people how to live their lives.

But if these people who make poor choices and then look for handouts, from your tax dollars, then you have right to complain about their lifestyle.

I had to support my brothers for a long time. They just stayed with my parents, played video games all day, hung out with wrong crowd at night, and complained about lack of money. My parents would guilt me into giving my brothers some handout. And then they complained about capitalism.

And I would complain about them not working and not able to do thing I wanted to with my money but my parent always shamed me for being selfish.

After a lot of nagging and many time refusing to give handouts, they slowly got decent jobs and are doing pretty good. I just wish I had nagged earlier and stopped supporting their lifestyle with my money.

So based on my personal experiences, I don't agree that we should spend our tax dollars on helping poor but don't shame them about their unhealthy lifestyle.

"But if these people who make poor choices and then look for handouts, from your tax dollars, then you have right to complain about their lifestyle."

But my tax dollars go to handouts for things I think are bad choices all the time to the wealthy! My tax dollars are used to subsidize industries I don't agree with to continue in their wasteful useage of resources. If we are to protest bad decisions begging for handouts, we should first complain about the lifestyles of board members of companies.

Johnson and Johnson knowingly created abestos-laden baby powder[1] and they recieved 8 million in federal subidies, 80 million in state/local ones. With an additional 10 million in federal loans. [0]

0. https://subsidytracker.goodjobsfirst.org/parent/johnson-and-... 1. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsona...

That's not an argument against the point you're replying to. We shouldn't subsidize wastefulness by either the rich or the poor when they make poor choices and squander opportunities and resources.

And I'm arguing that by that reasoning we have much, much bigger fish to fry than the poor.

Here in the USA, we have the best congress money can buy. Politicians are immensely corrupt and quite beholden to their campaign donors. If any member of congress dares to refuse a wealthy organization a favor, that organization can wind up bankrolling someone to primary that member of congress. As long as the supreme court maintains that money is speech, I can see no way to solve the problem of money in politics.

Let us not ignore the fact that Congress also uses taxpayer money to buy votes and that only about 44% of households pay federal income tax, with the top few percent paying the bulk.

The more I see how the democratic platform has devolved in the last 4 years, the more I have come to understand and agree with the decision in Citizens United. Right now, we have at least two candidates talking about a pretty extreme wealth tax (which is a tax on money you've already paid a ton of taxes on) all because others are envious of what they have and just want to use mob rule to steal.

Allowing money to influence votes, in a way is not unlike how a bicameral congress works. We have one that has equal representation (the Senate) and one that has proportional representation (the House). Similarly, every one has one vote (equal representation) and the ability to donate money to influence those votes and the amount of influence you are able to exert is proportional to the amount of value you've accrued from mutually beneficial voluntary transactions with others in that society whereby you provided to them some good or service they found valuable (proportional representation).

Money in politics is one of the greatest forces for the protection of private property. Without it, we'd likely devolve into a place like Venezuela where private property is seized unilaterally without recompense because the people voted for someone who promised them that they would use the government's right to licit first use of force to take private property from private citizens.

Had Martin Niemöller been born in pre-Soviet Union Russia or pro-Chavez Venezuela, he might have started his poem this way instead:

"First they came for the billionaires..."

Eventually, they'll come for the middle and upper middle class like they've done in many countries that become communist/socialist in the 20th and 21st centuries.

This is not to say that money in politics isn't a corrupting force, it is. But a democracy is also corrupting. The two balance each other out.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy." — Alexander Fraser Tytler (possibly Alexis de Toqueville)

And how many “handouts” do the middle and upper class get via the mortgage deduction and in some states, free college funded by the poor through the lottery?

The poor are not always poor by choice. I won’t even get into poverty caused by unequal sentencing from the same crimes, official government policies with red lining, etc.

Telling others what to do and how to live makes no sense. Talking about how to live better makes a lot of sense.

Blame and shame really aren't productive.

Given the strong role luck has in our lives, improving on society such that people can figure out how to live better a little more comfortably makes a lot of sense as well.

I don't concern myself with what such people do up until they start voting for politicians that want to raise taxes on everyone else to subsidize their lifestyle.

It's the same with personal health choices. You don't just die in a vacuum when your health decisions come home to roost. Rather, you take from finite, shared medical resources. For that reason, "my body, my choices" isn't as bulletproof as it seems at first glance.

I'm reminded of all the people who weren't allowed back into evacuation zones during the latest surge of forest fires to save more belongings from their house. People invoke the reasonable point of "I should be able to make that gamble if I want" but in reality, if they were to find themselves in danger, they'd be squandering resources of emergency responders having to save them and the attention of other people who should be working on evacuating swiftly rather than saving their neighbor.

It's not always obvious where to draw the line when concerning ourselves with the actions of others.

Money as it currently exists isn't personal property, it's an instrument for managing debt incurred by economic activity. Higher taxes on you are just society shifting their priorities away from your interests. Sucks for you, but then, it could just be the rebound from society over-subsidizing your lifestyle.

> Higher taxes on you are just society shifting their priorities away from your interests

We shouldn't be prioritizing anyone's interests via an institution with the right to licit first use of force. We have the technology now to charge people directly for the government-provided services they use. If you use it, you should pay for it. Until we start doing this, society is never going to price things properly and prices are the fastest mechanism for a society to communicate what is important.

Unilaterally taking away IOUs someone has accumulated without recompense merely deprioritizing someone's interests. It's theft.

> it could just be the rebound from society over-subsidizing your lifestyle.

what aspects of my lifestyle do you believe society over-subsidizing?

>We shouldn't be prioritizing anyone's interests via an institution with the right to licit first use of force.

Right. We should leave it to individuals with power and influence accrued during the current era, where we... prioritized some people's interests via an institution with the right to licit first use of force. Usually based on heritage.

This is definitely a good idea that you have had.

>what aspects of my lifestyle do you believe society over-subsidizing?

Depends on what your decadent western trade and hobbies are.

It's their choice to spend their days watching football because there is a culture of anti-intellectualism. It's not as simple as it's their choice so don't criticize it.

I disagree. If people fail to better themselves because they're surrounded anti-intellectuals, then nobody in the lower middle class would ever rise to upper middle; they would fail to challenge that culture. It's a personal choice to go with or against the prevailing culture.

I empathize with the fact, that for many people who do want to better themselves, they're often surrounded by people who don't want to. And that's a tough situation to be in -- that can drag you down. It's tough to persevere in certain situations.

Sure. But I was a lazy entitled "upper middle class" kid. I have my job because my parents could afford to support my lazy ass for so long.

So yeah, if you have the grit and drive you can help yourself out to a certain point. But some of us didn't need any grit and basically coasted through life. Why do I deserve this more than kids with less well off parents that fell somewhere between me and you - not a complete lazy ass, but also not determined enough to overcome the problems and external pressures in their life?

Your story is exactly why poor people should work hard. Plenty of people (not all) in the upper middle class are lazy and have had things handed to them. If you work hard, you can get ahead precisely because those people won't out compete you.

Because your parents worked hard for your outcome, as theirs did for them.

It's the same thing that drives the success of societies and nations, each generation living on the bounty of the blood, sweat, and toil of those that came before. An outsider may view with envy at the position of the people in the society, but it doesn't diminish the rights of the people in that society to it just because they didn't make it. What happens is those societies that destroy, denigrate, or forget their history get complacent, lazy, and fail.

Your parents likely failed in properly educating you in the history of your family, their trials, their successes, and you lacked context for your position in life.

Deep dive into your family history, learn your ancestors, the shit they had to deal with, why you are where you are, and erase the self loathing class warfare mentality from your perspective.

* Because your parents worked hard for your outcome, as theirs did for them.*

I think you will find most poor people work a lot harder than the wealthy.

> I think you will find most poor people work a lot harder than the wealthy.

If you want to become rich, put a small amount of money in the stock market, and then go into hibernation for 100 years. When you wake up, presto, you’ll be wealthy.

This sounds implausible, but it’s basically the same process as inherited generational wealth.

I think that what you are saying here doesn't necessarily serve as a counterpoint to the GP's point. Rather, it's only an additional piece of evidence. Where GP referred to things like a parent being sick serving as a downward pressure in the effort to improve one's circumstances the point is one of externalities which are not typically accounted for.

And in this case, the externality you're bringing up is that oftentimes being raised poor means you're being raised in an anti-intellectual environment. And that externality is something that a lot of poor people have to deal with.

It's another instance in which the game appears to be rigged against those from a poor background.

By far the best thing people from a poor background can do to better themselves is to fight the culture they are surrounded by. This is why I say the parent post is not "helpful". When things seem hopeless, why fight? It took a tremendous amount of strength and faith in myself to ignore literally everyone I knew and do what I thought was best. I know other people are capable of this as well, even if not to the degree I was. It would be helpful if there was a narrative that it is possible. That reading and self-drive can help you.

"Rich people stacked the deck against you and there's nothing you can do about it" is not helpful in any way. I saw one of the biggest issues was people feeling sorry for themselves and feeling helpless. This is why I react negatively when people who are clearly trying to help poor people do it in ways that don't espouse personal responsibility. It's well meaning, but counterproductive.

> "Rich people stacked the deck against you and there's nothing you can do about it" is not helpful in any way.

Does anyone even say that?

It's not rich people stacking the deck, it's nature. The rich just happen to have a lot more tools (money) available to deal with that deck.

> It took a tremendous amount of strength and faith in myself to ignore literally everyone I knew and do what I thought was best.

You even touch on it here, so clearly you are aware that your struggles had nothing to do with rich people (except maybe tangentially) but with the environment you were in. That's what people talk about when they talk about the deck being stacked against someone.

Right, I agree with you. In so many ways the deck is stacked. What I'm saying is that by far the number one thing people can do to improve their situation is to work hard and fight the prevailing culture. Nothing else will provide gains or opportunity like that. Even if someone fails, it's really the best chance they will have.

Is it more about knowing that venture/activity/learning will get you somewhere. Why do African American youth more prominent in sports activities and music entertainment and not educational activities? Because through generations and partially media, that is the the (only) way to success. If there are no role models, sometimes it is hard to believe that one can make it if "noone" else broke that mold.

> There is definitely a culture of anti-intellectualism and escapism among the poor in the US (my background).

One likely way to parse that is as a generalization of all poor people, which I think is inaccurate and harmful.

Anyone from a poor background will tell you that this is true in a shockingly large number of cases. Crab bucket mentality is real, bread and circuses are real and most of all anti-intellectualism is definitely real and a core tenant of modern lower class society.

Person from a poor background here. You're generalizing.

Agreed, and don't be disheartened. There are a few topics on HN that bring out comments and voting that are surprising and confusing to me, and this is one of them.

In this case, I have a sense that a certain generalization is very present in society, and harmful (e.g., a barrier to solving problems of injustice, or otherwise adversely affects how we treat each other). Someone might be speaking of their own anecdotal experience, and upset about that, and not thinking about why it might be important not to make blanket generalizations from that.

I think that is a fairly belligerent view on a first-hand observation of a common issue.

Eh, I see a lot of of the same stuff from middle class people in the US as well tbf, so I don't think it's just poor people.

I'm a bit like you. I'm very much so a self starter (maybe I'm assuming a bit there), an avid reader, and I grew up in a situation I wouldn't wish on anyone. I turned out more than alright, but like you said, it's due to a massive amount of hard work. I figured I'd offer a different point of view for you to consider.

First off, I want to make it clear I respect that you likely feel like the parent comment takes away from your hard work. No one is questioning that hard work and perseverance makes a difference in life. You and I are probably good examples of that.

However, I want to also make it clear that even though we got where we are today through hard work, it doesn't hurt either of us to consider how much further we could have gotten (or how much faster) if we were afforded the advantages others had.

For instance, I wish I could go start my own business, but I have to weigh the fact that I have zero social safety net. As such I'm left to save for at least few years in a salaried position before I can even consider it (and yes, I do hack my own side projects in my off hours). You're probably thinking I should just go do it, right? Well, I need the medical insurance unfortunately. I have a sleep disorder called sleep apnea (and before you assume I'm fat or something, I'm a gym rat). One night without my machine will likely result in my death one day (my AHI is 79). Now consider those who have it worse than me!

Inequality is a given, it's not a debate to be had. What if you had been born blind? Or with fetal alcohol syndrome? Just do some hard work friend! What if you not only lacked a system of support, but had a system of the opposite? People actively trying to ruin your life while growing up? This is a reality for a lot of folks!

So when you say "it's possible!", yes of course it is. But is it likely? No. The environment you're born in, the safety net you have, the people around you, the medical conditions you have, they all have a tremendous effect on your life. To suggest otherwise is foolish at best, but more likely willfully ignorant and prideful. Am I proud to be where I am? Yes, and a discussion on inequality doesn't make me feel threatened. It shouldn't feel threatening to you either.

Yes, hard work like ours can sometimes overcome terrible scenarios. But even I know I could wake up tomorrow with cancer and find my life savings drained. No amount of hard work can save me from that situation.

You're also assuming that those friends / family / neighbors you grew up with didn't work hard. Just because they weren't successful (your words by the way, not their own I'm sure), doesn't mean they didn't work hard. Hard work does not equate to "success" (or what you think of as success) in all scenarios. That's life.

The parent comment tried to explain all this, and honestly probably did a better job than I did, but I figured I would offer you my point of view.

Of course people do better with more resources (at least in theory). My life is still far behind what it could have been had I access to technology at an earlier age or inheritance or a healthy home life. Would I have had the same drive if those things were all handed to me? Impossible to tell.

The thing is, dwelling on that is not healthy or actionable. We can't go rewrite the past. My point is that there's great social inertia in the lower classes to pressure individuals into lifestyles that are harmful to their chances of success. There's actually zero downside in trying to change the culture to be less anti-intellectual.

There's a lot of harm created by the inequality in our society but there are also self defeating properties of culture independent of that. Changing the culture seems like a prerequisite to capture any gains created via any other systemic change. After all, what good is opportunity if you don't want to take it.

This is an important point. I came from a less well off family in Scotland and when younger considered many of my peers to be lacking intelligence or ambition in life. Then a while ago I dated a girl also from that town and got an insight into just how lucky I was. It never occurred to her that she could possibly go to uni until the last month of school (despite being one of the most intelligent people I've ever met) whereas my dad and godmother explained it and encouraged me when I was 10. We might have had similar-ish circumstances in many ways, but just a few early role models made us vastly different in our views of what was possible.

You may think people have lots of opportunities but that's not useful if they're not aware they have those opportunities.

Neither of my parents finished the Irish equivalent of High School but both appreciated the value of a third level education. Even after dropping out of my 1st course and going working in a factory my Dad reverse psyched me into starting again.

After my 1st job a colleague/friend that had left poached me to move with a 80% pay rise. Ten years later same thing happened with another colleague/friend.

It would be easy to see how I could still be on a manufacturing line, some of the people I worked with are still there. With out a bit of help from friends I would not be where I am today. Being extremely talented/a .1%er will get you far but having good role models and a bit of luck is almost as good.

That's interesting about 20 years a go one of my Female friends moved away to one of the poorer parts of the UK.

She has now moved back primarly because her v smart daughter saw her career as working on the check out in a supermarket as there are not many high paying jobs out in east Anglia.

Which is the problem of moving from SV to some where cheap you could be limiting your kids opportunities.

I wonder if it's "fixable", though. I come from a lower-middle-class family, so does my wife; we're upper-middle-class now. Our kids are nowhere near as "driven" as we were... but, to the extent that we can, of course we're going to use all our resources to make them more successful than they "deserve". It's basic human nature, yes the game is rigged, because if you come from a family that is both stable & well-off, your family will naturally provide much more support than the society could provide to the average Joe. I'm not sure how that can change ever (or even if it's desirable to try to change it).

The downside of being raised in a well-off family (at least anecdotally/ from my circle of friends) is that the children already have almost everything they could desire, and they take this stuff for granted, and as such they tend to put less effort into "life". Yes they need less effort to be successful - but they are also used to "less effort", so they don't try as hard. This balances the game a little, for those less fortunate. But I can totally see how if your background is too bad, the game is actively rigged against you, and it's not humanly possible to overcome your condition. That's probably where the society needs to focus the most.

Social mobility and educational success (at least in the UK, where educational attainment compared to background is one of the starkest in the western world) is intrinsically linked to your parents income.

Even rich kids playing on easy mode still do much better - kids with wealthier parents who do less well academically, still tend to go on to earn more later in life than poorer kids who do better [0]

I've put stints in at charities in this space, and there are people who care and trying to move the needle, but there are mountains to climb on this issue.

Improving education for kids from poorer backgrounds is one of the main ways we can solve the issue. One issue we face though is the anecdata brigade rolling out the "I did this and I only have half a GCSE in woodwork". A lack of aspiration as a result of background familiarity, and an acceptance of mediocrity from society and even some working in education are key things.

[0] just one source for stats: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/30/social-mobil...

I think about this as well. My parents struggled so that I could have a comfortable life. But I did see the struggle up-close, and am lucky to have inherited the work-ethic. I have a comfortable upper-middle-class life and think about how do you make sure that the kids inherit that. The answer is to keep the work ethic going - working hard. My dad is 70 and could have retired in any part of the world, 10 years back, but still works - not for the money, but for social causes, lives a pretty simple life, and is a huge inspiration to the rest of the family. Actions speak louder than works, the kids look at you and will emulate the habits. I've seen enough rich folk, who pass on those values, so yes although their kids have all the benefits, the expectations are also very high. So it comes down to you to create an environment that inspires and encourages them to think big. Not everyone deals the same with struggle - a lot more drop out than fight on. It's a balancing act.

> The answer is to keep the work ethic going - working hard.

That doesn't seem to work unfortunately. Good if it does for you :)

You mean, it's not working for you or your kids?

For the kids - they don't seem to take inspiration at all from us, in fact it's almost like they make a point to be as different from us as possible. Maybe that'll change after the teenage years, who knows :). But, tbh, I don't even mind. I don't want them necessarily to make similar choices with ours... it's just that their path is so different that I don't know where it'll lead them (we're both engineers, our kids seem to have artistic inclinations for some reason). It's a bit stressful because they're so different, but I take comfort in the fact that it's their choices to make, and anyway compared to the average person, they'll have ample support & opportunities to change their mind later, should they want to. They definitely have more room for mistakes than we did.

I would chalk it down to teenage rebellion. My parents were doctors and I wanted to get as far away from being one, became an engineer ( but if you ask me today, I would have gone down the medicine route..).

Your Dad sounds awesome.

The situation needs to be understood more deeply to make sense of it - one of the reasons that the well-off put in less effort is because they are exposed to a slightly more honest perspective on how useful effort is.

Raw, undirected effort does not do much. Effort needs to be deployed in a time, context and circumstance dependent way to yield results. The correlation between effort and outcomes is only because seizing an opportunity requires effort. So if there are several people in an obviously opportunity-rich environment, the ones who expend more effort to seize them will prosper more.

There are two questions; the first is does the environment present opportunities? A poor child in Africa with Ebola no doubt has less opportunities than a healthy one born into a wealthy western banking family. The second questions is what does opportunity look like? Many modern problems exist because people are simply blind to the opportunities that surround them.

The interplay of those two questions is beyond complex and has so far resisted any one-size-fits-all solution to the human condition.

My wife and I talk about this. We are unsure if we have done a disservice to our kids by shielding them from the crap we had to deal with. We were poor, from broken homes, had to work very hard, and have a bit of luck to get where we are. Our kids are just so lazy.

It seems the best thing for a society to do is to promote stable families, since this is the indicator of success.

Your kids have a lot of life left to live. Probably life will throw some curveballs at them (it does for most of us). These curveballs will probably spur them to develop drive and motivation.

>...the game is not rigged against those from poor backgrounds

Rigged isn't a fair word, it's just reality.

Also, as another commenter pointed out, there are people that are successful in a wide range of ways, money is just one of them. And those that had it easy early on often times don't do well later in life when things can get hard.

Edit: I spent time on the streets as a teen (yes it affected me) but my siblings did not, but they are worse off then me. I hit bottom and bounced back, they are still struggling in many ways. (not just money)

Rigged isn't a fair word, it's just reality.

It's only reality because people accept it. If we stop accepting it the reality can be changed. For example, for several hundred years many people accepted slavery and believed owning people was justifiable. When enough people decided not to accept that reality it was changed fairly quickly.

Several thousand years, at the very least, and in some quarters it's still practiced: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_21st_century

Practices can change, and it's nice to think that once we realized it was possible for "owning people" to not be a thing, we simply made it not a thing, but in fact mindsets can be the slowest to change.

Eradication of an evil social practice is not like invention of a science or technology. We invent the car or the computer, and 25 years later it's in every country on the planet. The Father of History mentions the ills of slavery, and 2500 years later we still haven't quite got this thing licked.

Sorry to be a bit pedantic, but reality exists independent of belief or acceptance. However, a belief in whether or not a person can change that reality at some future point, I think is a more accurate description of the quality you're describing.

While generally you are of course correct, this is not always the case. Some facets of reality have been willed/believed into existence. Nations and social orders are real, but only exist as long as people believe in them. For example, when in 1991 people stopped believing in the existence of the USSR, it was erased from the objective reality in a very brief span of time.

It can be similarly argued that the modern income/opportunity distribution owes its continues existence to the fact that enough people believe that it exists and is lawful.

That is absolutely not what happened with the USSR.

Do you object to the notion that the USSR, like any country, was in a way an imaginary entity, or to the notion that it mainly ceased to exist because the its citizens decided to imagine something else and actually pulled it off?


> When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don’t know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don’t actually mean anything at all.

reality exists independent of belief or acceptance

I'm using the word in that sense of "The reality is that I can't afford to buy a Ferrari"; it's (sadly) true, but it could change in the future.

Slavery and owning people is still legal, explicitly so in some countries, less explicitly so where sweatshops/slave labor and factory economies function, and implicitly so in places like America and Europe, especially in high churn job sectors where employers figured out you can exploit a constantly new labor pool and by the time they figure it out there is a new batch of suckers to take advantage of(Uber is an example of this model.) Slavery and owning people never went away, it just got better at disguising itself. It will never go away either, because that is how reality functions (or else reality wouldn't function that way)

In the US, the right to use prisoners for slave labor is enshrined in the Constitution.

>Rigged isn't a fair word, it's just reality.

The universe and the laws of physics are "just" reality.

Other things, and especially society, is more like what we make them.

Our society and its functioning is not some god- or nature- handed immutable, it's something that we can change, update, fix, build upon etc (and of course, regress).

The reality the person you replied to also includes the immutable nature of our biology, and the fact that people vary wildly in intelligence and personality, which will result in vastly unequal outcomes for individuals. Society cannot be endlessly molded to our will because we're not masters of our bodies yet.

> Rigged isn't a fair word, it's just reality.

It is reality, but rigged is a perfectly accurate word, including the implication that this is a deliberate and actively preserved design element and not an accident.

> Also, as another commenter pointed out, there are people that are successful in a wide range of ways, money is just one of them

And virtually all of them are rigged against people with poor backgrounds.

> And those that had it easy early on often times don't do well later in life when things can get hard.

Not as often as those who didn't have it easy early on don't do well later, or simply don't even make it to later in the first place.

While I sympathize, I can't help but read this as an example of OP's first sentence (survival bias).

It's not survivor bias because all my siblings are still alive and I was the only one that nearly didn't make it.

I think it's a common enough situation where people who don't suffer enough to change their bad behavior continue in their bad behavior.

To put it in extremes, if someone had a gun to their head right now, could they quit smoking? I'd say most people could. (some people are suicidal)

I had a gun to my head and had to make a choice, my siblings did not.

But back to my point, reality isn't rigged, it is what it is.

There aren't rich people forcing poor people to stay poor at gun point (at least not in free countries). While rich people do make it easier for people in their circle to stay rich though (ignoring the differences in habits). That, I would say is rigged, but not in the way it seems commonly claimed.

I agree with you, but the game is rigged in that those with a better pedigree learn things others do not. That realization came slowly over several years, no one likes to believe they have built-in inequities.

But that's reality for you, you work with what you have.

The people arguing against you, exactly what are they thinking? That we should outlaw parents giving their children an edge in life?

They concentrate their efforts on the wrong things. And the solution is generational, teach children they can, and they will.

>...those with a better pedigree learn things others do not

Yes, I agree completely. But what I learned from my own experience is that I could teach different things to my kids than I was taught. No one forced me to teach the same things.

And I agree there seems to be a general unfairness in the world. How to fix this seems like the hard part because of your other points. (force people to not help their kids?)

> It's not survivor bias because all my siblings are still alive and I was the only one that nearly didn't make it.

Survival bias isn't (necessarily) literal. And you are ascribing your success (relative to your siblings) to drive developed from your rough times, not to a million other possible variables you're not aware of, and your story is just one case.

It is survival bias, regardless of whether your analysis happens to be true.

I will concede that only having my one data point presented seems to indicate that what I did to "save myself" won't work for everyone.

But don't you think that if everyone who smokes, if they quit today, all of them have a better chance at being healthier in the future? Maybe not all, but wouldn't their chances be greatly improved?

What is the difference between smoking and any other self destructive behavior people have?

Absolutely. But it is great for the extremely rich to be able to point to the few new e.g billionaires each generation as examples that anything is possible and if you are not then you must be lazy.

I understand where you're coming from and there are definitely statistics and luck at play in the game of like, but I don't fully agree with your conclusion.

As someone who also came from a slightly lower income background I had a lot of support encouraging me to cultivate a habit of reading and from my parents that helped me heaps. Anecdotally, I know many people who came from much higher socioeconomic backgrounds who grew in the exact same environment as I did, couldn't care less about sciences, learning, etc.

The United States has a huge problem of anti-intellectualism and it is looked down upon a lot if you're into computers, a nerd, etc. If you go to third world countries like India, etc. you'll realize that even people who are dirt poor place an extremely huge amount of importance on education. Because time and again, they've seen that the only way to get out of their pit of poverty.

> If you go to third world countries like India, etc. you'll realize that even people who are dirt poor place an extremely huge amount of importance on education.

While I get your point, I don’t fully agree with this statement. The anti-intellectual strain is pretty common in India as well, it’s just a bit warped. There definitely is a fetish for getting into a good college and getting the right/prestigious credentials, but actual education (grounded, multi-disciplinary, non-rote-based) is many-a-time sneered upon, at least in my personal experience. I was lucky enough that my parents encouraged reading (they sometimes strained their finances so that my sister and I could get good books). A lot of my peers did not share or appreciate the necessity of reading “outside the syllabus”.

Except this study is only demonstrating correlation, not causality. The causality could easily flow in the exact opposite direction: Your family has unstable income because either culturally or genetically you are prone to thinking problems later in life.

As anecdotal evidence from my high school class the people who had it easier did not become as successful as people who had it harder by their 40s. This might be pretty unrepresentative but the level of motivation was very different.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but if it does kill you it makes you dead. Put some obstacles in front of people, they'll overcome them and benefit from the process. Put some more obstacles and now the path is impassable.

Coming from country much less fortunate compared to US what is considered unsurmountable obstacle in US would be close to what a regular person is facing there. So it might be that people believing that they have no options has a significant impact on what they can achieve.

I’m not sure what that has to do with the article.

If you read it, the study starts at age 23 and only measures relative income drops.

>I’m not sure what that has to do with the article.

It doesn't. It has with the common responses to those type of articles.

Here's a crazy idea.

Instead of spending all that time and effort invalidating the opinion of those who have successfully made it out of those circumstances, why don't you ask them how they did it and what they think can be done to help those who haven't?

The problem with keyboard warriors is that it isn't actually action. It's akin to the studies showing that people who talk about what they're going to do get the same emotional satisfaction from actually doing it.

What you've managed to do is dismiss the very people who have the most insight and made yourself feel better to boot. What's not to like, right?

>Instead of spending all that time and effort invalidating the opinion of those who have successfully made it out of those circumstances, why don't you ask them how they did it and what they think can be done to help those who haven't?

Don't worry about that, for the types I talk about, we get to hear "how they did it" at every chance they get to brag about it.

People also hear "what they think can be done to help those who haven't", and more often than not, its condescending garbage, like "you just need to try harder", "motivation is key", "those people are lazy", and so on.

They are the worst judges of the factors of their success. For one, as the saying goes, "no winner believes in chance". It's all about their character and grit, nothing circumstantial -- so even if we take their words as gospel, there's nothing there applicable to others, except "change your character".

In fact compared to that, the born-rich are perhaps more considerate than the outliers that made it.

>The problem with keyboard warriors is that it isn't actually action. It's akin to the studies showing that people who talk about what they're going to do get the same emotional satisfaction from actually doing it.

Which is neither here, nor there. This is a discussion, we are all "keyboard warriors" here.

>What you've managed to do is dismiss the very people who have the most insight and made yourself feel better to boot. What's not to like, right?

Or, you know, I've managed to shed some light into things that are still a large problem in modern society, and that people tend to view wrongly.

Also, when you assume (e.g. that I'm poor myself and needed to say those things to "feel better") you make an ass out of, etc...

You like to focus on extremes. The important question is how a person from poor background can move into middle class. Who becomes a billionaire is pretty irrelevant even if you are from well to do family your chances of making it to ,,, are still extremely low.

>The important question is how a person from poor background can move into middle class.

The important question for a society is how many persons of poor backgrounds move into middle class (and how many middle class persons fall into poverty).

And the answer should be systemic, not just about "laziness" and "lack of motivation" and so on, because that wont explain how some societies manage to have way less pour/homeless/etc and more middle class, and others fail at it. Or how the same society changes its ratios over time...

The cultural mores of poor communities are also "systemic", your argument seems to entirely discount the role they play in individual opportunity.

There's always reasons why the dismissal of those with the most insight is the "right" thing to do.

It turns out human beings can rationalize a lot of things that ought not be rationalized.

Notice how you take for granted (that they have the "most insight") what you should prove...

Well the ones dismissed where those who said I Did X anyone should be able, which is not exactly a very deep insight into the difficulties of doing X when hobbled.

this illustrates exactly the problem.

While people are having these "insights", the problems are not actually getting fixed. This is because fixing the problem isn't really the goal.

And these people should absolutely be judged for this.

More often than not, it's by complete chance. There's tons of people that grow up in shitty circumstances that "have potential", and not all of them are going to live up to it. The most likely avenue is that a mentor of some kind entered the person's life (teacher, Boys & Girl's Club, etc.) that supported/push them to aim higher. Then X years later, they will feel oddly smug and say "well, if I can do it, then anyone can!" conveniently leaving out the pure luck they just happened to have.

Let me draw an analogy to make this more clear.

You have a river that separates two climates. One is a barren desert, and the other is a lush forest. You have two villages on each side of this river, and they can see each other off in the distance. But the river is deep, wide, and treacherous.

So the lush village talks a lot about how lucky they are, how unlucky the other village is, and how they should recognize their luck in being born on the lush side of the river. And that's what they do.

How does this help the barren village?

It doesn't, and that's the point. The lush villagers feel as if they're morally good people because, after all, they recognize their luck!

But NONE of them take the ultimate responsibility and try build a bridge. They're content being morally good people who are lucky.

And then imagine one day a barren villager arrives in the lush village. And this villager starts talking about how they crossed the river, and others could too if they were willing to do what this particular villager did.

And the lush villagers start telling this person they're morally bad for believing others can do what they did. What about the disabled and the infirm? But really, the lush villagers just don't want to believe they could have taken the ultimate responsibility to build a bridge because it would lay bare the truth, that they're just as immoral as everyone else. That they COULD have solved the problem, or at the very least lessened the problem. But their goal was never to solve or make it better. Their goal was simply to live with themselves as the beneficiaries of that luck.

The only real difference between this analogy and what we're talking about here is that the solution isn't as clear cut.

What you basically said was "human beings who are taught the right things will be successful because they'll make better decisions in life". Which strongly implies it's not about chance because we as a society could take it upon ourselves to ensure as a society all of our young are taught the right things.

But rather than do that, people teach their children the right things, and then let themselves off the hook for all the other children by "recognizing" how unlucky they are. When they know, they KNOW, when no one is judging and they're being honest with themselves, they know they're just as large a part of the problem due to their own selfishness.


This problem will start getting better when these smug ass keyboard warriors stop recognizing shit and start taking action. When they stop being able to live with their own inaction and are instead pushed to action.

Study summary opens with a political objective then summarizes a mass population correlation study, and ends up strongly promoting that correlation as causative and in support of the author's pet political program objective.

Wouldn't call this science.

Wait...they didn't test them before?!

Maybe their income dropped because of their lower thinking !

who doesn't go through unsteady income in young adulthood? if anything it teaches you how to prioritize with few resources.

I didn't. I was a military wife in young adulthood. We had a steady income with good benefits.

Unsteady income for me came in my forties when I began doing freelance work post-divorce to accommodate a health issue.

I didn't. I got a job at a plastic factory making $9.55 an hour and worked there for 15 years. I had saved enough to start contributing to an IRA my first year there.

The lack of money gives people with lower income a problem that the brain cannot solve. Not everyone can 'just get a job' that easily. I've experienced periods in my life where I kept thinking in circles to find a way to get some money for our basic needs. The only solution was to simply keep trying and waiting for some luck or fate. Of course that fucks your brain! I knew a professor in Berlin who was living in the streets, homeless. Try to imagine his mind. After all his work, passion and skill this simple but ridiculous money problem is in-solvable. And no one will help him, he is lost for life. Most rich people have no clue about this problem. They think everybody can work and create a future, while at the same time this professor in the streets has no chances. Who has a thinking problem here?

Doesn't Germany have an adequate social security system?

It's not great after the time limited benefits run out. You can survive on the 400 eur/mo if you're in good mental health & can consistently do good financial planning ahead, but that's often not the case.

This is accurate and fascinating. That's exactly how it feels. Like an problem that you can't solve even though one is capable and skilled.

"schlechte Zeiten für die Heiligen"

TL,DR: Income correlates with mental abilities.

I assume that's not you summarizing for people and instead saying that you thought it was too long and didn't read it, following up with a horrid comment?

I wish you were right.

But nope. I read it twice looking for a spark of meaning beyond that I wrote in my comment.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact